The 3 things millennials must have at work (or else), according to a top CEO

Setting Expectations with Millennials in the Workplace

When times change, some people claim they shouldn't have.

No, I'm not talking about Trump supporters. Well, not specifically.

Instead I'm musing about employers who think that millennials should act according to corporate rules handed down by their stratified forefathers.

Turn up on time. Do what you boss tells you. Play golf. Wait 30 years for your pension.

Millennials though, if they're a group at all, tend to see the world a little differently.

They know corporate promises don't mean much. They know that the world is moving faster, so the types of jobs at their disposal won't be the same in five years' time.

They've also seen parents who worked their whole lives, were owned by their employers in far too many ways and only started enjoying themselves when their varicose veins were prominent and their blood pressure was permanently past 150.

Mark Weinberger, CEO of accounting behemoth EY (formerly Ernst and Young), says bosses have to adjust to that.

75 percent of EY's employees are millennials. In the last two years, the company hired between 60,000 and 65,000 employees a year. Who'd want to work in that HR department?

In an interview with Bloomberg, he offered some pleasing realism reflecting our changed times.

These are the three essential millennial demands that companies must satisfy.

1. Millennials Want Flexibility.

How dare these young people expect time to do personal things during the workday? Who can possibly forget the boss who refused to allow one of his employees to have two hours off to attend her graduation ceremony? She quit. Weinberger explained: "Flexibility means not just the traditional flex work arrangements. It also means just the flexibility to go ahead and be able to go to your kid's soccer games or care for an elderly parent and not have to be clocking in over a certain period of time." It also means not having to be at the office. This all sounds unusually human. This has its limits, surely. Millennials can't just go off the reservation because Duran Duran are in town. Of course, says Weinberger, but "if you have a team that respects flexibility and you're very transparent about when you're available and when you're not, all of a sudden you can meet the needs of the client."

2. Millennials Want Purpose.

Millennials actually want to believe in what they're doing. Weinberger sounded almost surprised when he told Bloomberg: "They really do want to come to work thinking that they're going to do something that matters." Audits matter? Weinberger explains it by saying that a good audit brings an element of trust and confidence into the markets as a whole. Given the way many view the markets as largely fixed and manipulated, it's charming that a CEO can persuade his employees that they might bring a little justice to the whole thing.

3. Millennials Want Engagement.

Weinberger accepts that his millennial employees won't stay forever. He's not hiring employees for life. He's not looking for people who will become part of the furniture. They're not obsessed about pensions or healthcare. So while they're there, part of what he's creating is a feeling that the work keeps them inspired. Even though they will leave, they will take with them a good impression of the company. This means -- goodness, how clever -- they might want to work with EY when they're employed by someone else. Sometimes, he said, employees come back. He did three times. In a business that depends on clients for every element of revenue, it's worth thinking about your company not as something you control, but as something whose ethos you can propagate partly through the people who leave. After all, have you ever met an accountant who stayed with the same firm their whole life. Did they fascinate you?

RELATED: 10 things millennials won't buy

10 things millennials won't buy
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10 things millennials won't buy

1. Cable television

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2. Investments

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3. Mass-market beer

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4. Cars

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5. Homes

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6. Bulk goods from warehouse clubs

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7. Weddings

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8. Children

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9. Health insurance

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10. Anything recomended or reviewed by people they know

Photo credit: Getty


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